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Big Island scoop for emergency food, shelter programs


Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono has announced the awarding of $485,827 in U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant funding to help island agencies feed the hungry, shelter the homeless as well as prevent hunger and homelessness during next fiscal year.

This federal grant is being awarded through the Department Homeland Security’s Emergency Food and Shelter (EFS) Program.

Of the federal funds allocated to the state, $123,116 has been awarded to the County of Hawaii. The remaining $362,711 in grants will be utilized by the state’s Set-Aside Committee.

In each case, the funding will help local non-profit and government agencies supplement and expand ongoing efforts to provide individuals and families with non-disaster, temporary emergency needs such as food, shelter, and support services.  Additional jurisdictions in the state may be selected at a later date by the EFSP State Set-Aside Committee.

This federal grant provides supplemental funding to shelters, soup kitchens, and food banks.  One-month awards for rent, mortgage, and utility assistance are also available.  In each funded jurisdiction, a Local Board advertises the availability of the funds, establishes local priorities, selects local agencies to receive supplemental funding, and monitors program compliance.

The EFS Program has been in existence since 1983 and was authorized under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987.  With the FY 2010 allocation, more than $3.6 billion in federal aid will have been disbursed through the EFSP since its inception to communities nationwide, and has accounted for millions of additional meals and nights of shelter to the hungry and homeless most in need across the nation.

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